All of these events I'm writing about now took place in the first few weeks of my first tour in the Navy before the 5-day trek where the sovereign picture from another realm visited and intersected with my little world. That started on December the 30th, 1983 and ended on January the 3rd, 1984. The things I am referring to now as a necessary background to these events all happened mostly between Dec. 5th and Dec 30th.
I am a piano player. In a sense, piano used to be me. When I was in the organized church I was the piano player for all the choirs in the Valley Trinity Foursquare Church and could sit and play and sing literally for hours. After that I was in a Christian traveling rock band for awhile.
Well, considering the fact that I had one at my mom's house for many years all the time daily, I was missing being able to play. So one night I went to the chapel at the Community Center at the Naval housing community I mentioned that is still there eight miles away from pier Charlie and the Holland. I was hoping to find a piano there and sure enough, there was a young seaman sailor who was working for the Chaplain and had duty on the chapel premises that night. Being quite friendly, he let me into a Sunday school room that late afternoon where I continued on for hours playing the piano and singing to the Lord. Refreshing indeed! If you remember the Prologue I wrote at the beginning of this book, this was the night I was referring to that caused me to realize that in those days I expressed the very soul and deepest feelings through the piano keyboard. In my case I guess my hands were a very vitalizing part of the "real me" so to speak.
Finally after about 3 hours I sat down to take a break. I got to talking with the RP (the guys who work for the chaplains are called RP for Religious Petty Officers) Of course you must understand this before I talked to the Chaplain on board ship. He showed me a copy of a ministry magazine from "Kingdom Ministries" I think it was. I've tried in these days of writing to find them still in existence and can't do it. There were some rather insightful articles by Ron Gatrelle. It was kind of like a newspaper. So I think I borrowed one. I got interested in Ron's articles because he seemed to see things that many other Christians I knew had never seen. Also he had some insight and revelation of the Word, but it seemed to me shallow with not much depth. At that point was born by the sovereign arrangement of God, for the purpose of making all these things fall into place, a desire to meet this brother.
It was after this journey to the chapel that I met Richard briefly and had that meeting with the Chaplain I have already mentioned. Shortly after that I somehow contacted some people from the Fire Escape and arranged to visit. I got a ride (, as I had no car in those days) from a brother named Pete that night. We shortly arrived at the Fire Escape coffeehouse. The bottom floor was a coffeehouse and the upper story had chairs set up in rows like most of the organized church today. But I never saw that part of it that night because I was visiting during a informal Saturday night coffee house fellowship. You could buy Dr. Pepper there and there were some snacks.
Some of the guys were just sitting at a table talking. A couple other guys were engaged in a chess game. There was one brother up there in front on a stool with a guitar singing for everybody, but his volume was such that you could ignore him if you wanted to.
What kind of upset me somewhat were the pictures and posters they had up of some of the "Christian" rock groups of that day. Some of these bands do lift up Christ but when they got painted faces like the worldly KISS rock band it just doesn't fit right with me.
From the start I told Pete I wanted to meet Ron but for quite awhile I didn't know who he was and I got into talking with Pete. It was amazing! Finally someone heard what I had been talking about. What was I talking about those days? I referred to the scriptural ground of unity, the local ground of oneness, and the blessedness on that ground. I was so used to deaf ears on this point that I was shocked that Pete was hearing me! He seemed to agree. Of course to find someone who really sees it is not so easy. But then I began to share with him concerning spiritual things and there was some good though not excellent fellowship. Inwardly, I began thanking God.
After this another brother got interested in our conversation and joined our table. Soon Pete wanted to talk to someone else and left the table. The new brother who joined the table had sort of longish but not too long hair and wore a full beard but it was well groomed and not too long. He seemed to agree with the concept somewhat of one assembly for one locality but had some drawbacks. He thought it quite interesting to hear some of the things I was saying. Deep within me though, even though this conversation seemed to be going very well and in my favor there was HUGE DISTURBANCE! I WAS SO INWARDLY BOTHERED BY THE Holy Spirit that it was totally amazing!
After awhile during the conversation on spiritual things I mentioned Witness Lee and to my surprise this brother actually knew of whom I was talking about. But he expressed that he did not agree with Witness Lee and had a problem about him. I was very disturbed by the Spirit's turbulence within warning me I should turn away and not visit very often. He revealed something was very wrong but did not specifically tell me at the time. (I found out years later!) But then why had I been led to visit here in the first place? And what about Pete and how open he was?
Well after talking with this brother for about an hour or so (seemingly the conversation was going quite well even though the inner witness of the Spirit was saying the opposite!!!!) I mentioned the fact I had come there to meet Ron Gatrelle. At this point this brother said, "I am Ron Gatrelle!" I had been talking with him all that time and didn't know it. There was something I had noticed from the beginning though and that was the fact that there was an air of self-superiority about him. You know that intimidating spirit you feel around some pastors because of this evil, demonic, Satanic (C'mon! Call a spade a spade!) system of thought that puts one Christian above another when Jesus said "you are all brethren and One is your Teacher" He meant of course that there is only one Master. Only one Father and only one Lord.
It was interesting because even though he had this condescending outlook on others, he was hearing some very interesting things from me he had never heard of before and since he was at least teachable he would listen and learn … and feed back. But deep within I know now that also part of it was the desire to learn about maybe some possible heresy within me that he might refute it because he was into refuting heresy and error to "protect the flock" (he was totally unqualified for that one!). Anyway, even though the Spirit kept turning and churning within me in a foreboding way warning me of this brother, our conversation continued till 3:00 o'clock in the morning! And Ron was supposed to preach the next morning (he had to! Martin Luther ordered it to be so!).
At this parting point Ron out of the heart of the love that was in his capacity (I think it was the kind Peter had for Jesus in Matt 16) invited me to come back and hear him preach at his church service the next morning. But due to the Spirit's warning within, I told him "I don't think so, I don't know when, if ever, I'll be back" or something to that effect. At this he said something by way of some kind of Proverb that sounded totally weird to me. But as far as I was concerned the spirit had warned me to keep my distance and keep my distance I would.
They say that the next morning (that same morning) after Ron preached and there was an altar call that Ron went to that so-called "altar" got on his knees and prayed for me, praying that I would come back. He prayed that he would have another opportunity to meet me and speak to me once again, praying I would be in the truth, etc. But I never did show my face there again for a long time even though I did plan to one time. You will see the unbelievable sovereign arrangement in all these things as this story proceeds. It is such a painting of such wealth untold that id you truly see you will have to catch your breath!
It is quite interesting to me now that I never met up with Richard or so much as saw him except that first brief meeting before these things ………… that is until the time appointed. Amazing!
So what is the meaning of all this? I will give you a small window now, and a much bigger one further on. There was a poisoning going on in Ron Gatrelle and the Holy Spirit knew what was going on. But it was not so extensive as it was after a space of time had passed. By design, I didn't find out till years later. It was even by God's design I found that out so you could know the truth!